Google’s Flutter and Facebook’s React Native, it’s a clash of the titans.
They’ve been in the grove for a while now, one older than the other by a few years, but by no means less competitive.
As a business owner in 2023, you’ve decided to build a world-class mobile application to take advantage of the online plethora where you can cash in on some steaming sales.
From smart research, you’ve figured out that cross-platform app development is best for your mobile app development requirements as it saves time and money.
With a single codebase, you can get the job done, running your app across multiple platforms, devices, and operating systems. Popular appeal told you that Flutter and React Native are currently the best hybrid app development frameworks.
Now you’re trying to figure out which hybrid framework is best for your custom mobile app development needs. We’ve got your back! Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll know how the frameworks fare over one another and which one is most suitable for you.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Flutter is an open-source cross-platform app development framework that was introduced by Google in 2017 to create feature-rich, interactive, natively compiled applications that work on the web, mobile, and desktop.
The main idea behind releasing Flutter was to have a single codebase that can be used across multiple platforms, multiple devices, and OS.
The applications are written in Flutter and work simultaneously on 6 different OS platforms, namely, Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, macOS, and Fushcia.
Over the years, Flutter has become a natural favorite for app developers with new features being added to the framework with every update. Given that the hybrid framework is open source, developers can contribute to the development of Flutter, making it a highly scalable hybrid framework.
The Flutter framework is built on the Dart programming language, a simple-to-use coding language that helps to develop elegant user interfaces that provide seamless graphic transitions.
The elasticity provided by Flutter to develop native-like apps that work well on iOS and Android, in particular, is redeeming as you make the best out of a fairly simple but scalable framework.
Flutter’s SDK toolkit comes loaded with pre-built UI components and widgets that help to build engaging user interfaces and working components such as buttons and text. With every update, new features are being incorporated helping developers to make apps that resemble native apps.
The latest version of Flutter was released on January 25th, 2023, as Flutter 3.7, which has features that enhance custom web app initialization and build iOS configuration.
It’s only just the beginning, Google is consistently on the run for improving the Flutter architecture to create mobile apps with functionalities that perform just like native components.
While developing Android and iOS apps with the cross-platform development framework, there are so many benefits. There are also some downsides to it. Let’s take a detailed look at the pros and cons of Flutter so that you know if it’s best for you.
Flutter’s instant nice, steamy reload is why developers love using the Dart programming language. Being able to make instant changes to your application and review it in real time is very important as it helps you to scale your business application effectively without wasting time.
The hot reload feature does just that and helps developers to view changes in the application as and when they make them. Given this aspect, built UI, widgets, and other functionalities can be easily experimented with to see which works best.
It also helps during the testing process as bugs can be easily identified and removed, facilitating faster development and testing. You can facilitate hot reload, hot restart, and even full restart depending on your purpose.
The reload happens within the brink of an eye, we’re talking about milliseconds.
To preserve your app state and just make instant widget changes, hot reload works best. The hot restart will lead to restarting of the app, loading the code changes but resulting in loss of app state.
The way hot reload works is that the Flutter engine searches for separate widget trees and libraries for changed code and immediately implements it. Developers can’t facilitate the hot reload in native app development which is time-consuming and painstaking.
You don’t have to go elsewhere to develop custom UI interfaces and components that build a powerful mobile application. Flutter has an extensive set of widgets and pre-built components classified under various app functionalities to help build iOS and Android apps.
Flutter’s widget library consists of the basic components that help to create apps with functionalities that perform like native elements and native UI components.
Widgets like text, container, stack, and row/column are used to write text and structure the layouts in the desired style. Visual elements with shadow and box effects that raise the appeal of the text and layout can be created with the container widget.
You can elevate the material design of your application and bring in design features like the ripple effect with custom material widgets that are prompt to make the buttons and text look similar just like in a native app.
Considering the fact that iOS users prefer their apps to sync with the iconic UI of Apple devices, Google has encoded the Cupertino Action Sheet widget that’s best for developing iOS-style action sheets.
To facilitate a structured layout with drawers and app bars, the Scaffold material design widget is implemented. Navigation widgets of Flutter apps are a major highlight as they are built for superior performance.
The Flutter framework is great at handling input gestures and providing instant responses based on user input thanks to the gesture detector widget. People love using Flutter web and desktop apps owing to the amazing user interface functionality that is enabled with these widgets.
Several other widgets help you to build phenomenal cross-platform apps without the need for third-party libraries.
Well, if you want to spread your wings across online platforms by developing powerful and scalable mobile applications with fast development times and budget freedom, Flutter is your go-to SDK toolkit.
It’s ridiculous building native apps when you want to launch them across multiple platforms and operating systems. Considering that there are iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and several more OS, it’s best to go for cross-platform application development than native development.
You’ll just need a single codebase written in Flutter’s programming language, Dart, to run your app across platforms saving you development time and costs. With several Flutter OS being experimented with in the current times, it’s only beneficial to choose cross-platform development.
Hiring an app developer is an expensive process as most developers charge on an hourly basis. If you’re developing native apps for Android, iOS, and several others, it’s going to leave you with budget issues to think about. After all, it’s just minor differences that a user may perceive between Flutter apps and native apps.
You can scale Flutter apps and make changes to code consistently and reflect those changes in all the platforms with a single codebase. This gives you the freedom and ability to add new features to your app without having to bother about code adaptability issues.
It’s 2023, everything is fast. You want things to be done in the nick of time. That’s why Flutter is so adorable. It helps you build and test feature-rich mobile and web applications with native apps like performance and native documentation.
The array of widgets and pre-built components available in Flutter helps to build a custom user interface for the mobile application with relevant functionalities that engage your target audience.
Most likely, there’s no need to outsource any third-party libraries to facilitate cross-platform development with Flutter. The code partitions like a widget tree to enable developers to identify parent and child widgets and make changes quickly and easily.
Flutter app development is almost like a cakewalk to build highly scalable mobile and web apps owing to the hot reload feature that instantly shows changes in code by preserving the current app state.
Both iOS and Android apps can be developed seamlessly with Flutters’s SDK toolkit.
It’s generally said that apps built on Flutter take not even half the time it takes to build iOS or Android apps. It saves incremental time because you’ve built an app that works on every major OS.
With every update, Google has been doing a good job to incorporate features that help facilitate faster development times and app development processes. Flutter developers can work miracles for you within a short period if you have a tight deadline.
Most iOS and Android users prefer their particular devices as they love the custom UI/UX that comes with them. That’s the main reason businesses seek native app development as it helps to simulate apps that resonate with the devices’ user interface.
With Flutter, one cannot distinguish between a native app and a cross-platform app. The rendition is almost the same with a slight difference in graphic transitions speeds and gesture handling which is more effective with native apps.
Graphic transitions happen at 60 FPS which is highly performant just like you get in native apps.
The vast widget collection in the Flutter framework helps to build seamless UI components that one usually gets while using native code. The integral features like custom web interface initialization also help to facilitate native-like web development.
iOS users are more sensitive to their apps in particular owing to the minimalistic outlook of its user interface. With Flutter’s inbuilt Cupertino widget, it’s possible to render buttons, text, and structure layouts similar to iOS native apps.
One of the biggest boons of mobile apps created with Flutter is that they can be tested to perfection. Manual testing can be implemented effectively with hot reload decisively helping developers to make changes and view it instantly.
However, with automated testing, Flutter apps can be diagnosed with errors and bugs even more quickly, reducing testing complexities and optimizing the process. It is done with the help of pre-executed scripts that check for major errors in the app code.
With widget testing, particular widgets can be tested for their performance in certain situations. Dart Analyzer and other DevTools can be used to identify potential bugs in the app code and rectify them easily. Integration tests can be easily performed to check for any errors in the third-party modules.
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While Flutter has several pre-built components that are sufficient for building a scalable application, it doesn’t have access to relevant third-party libraries which might be specific demands of your business model.
Flutter developers will have to build a custom plugin for advanced and complex app functionalities resulting in delayed app and web development. To incorporate features that resonate more like native components in native mobile apps, third-party library access is necessary and that’s very difficult to access with Flutter.
Although backed by Google, it’s fair to say that Flutter has a disadvantage as it’s a relatively new framework compared to other hybrid app development frameworks such as React Native.
In comparison to native app tools and features, Flutter can be somewhat restrictive to developers as it does not have an extensive set of libraries. If Google decides to halt the use of Flutter, it can be a severe blow to the whole ecosystem of Flutter developers.
Native apps built on native code such as Java, Kotlin, or Swift UI occupy very little space as compared to Flutter applications that hold 3-4 times the size of native apps.
For instance, if a particular Flutter app occupies 5MB, the Android and iOS app occupies only 1 MB. That’s the size difference.
This can result in users not downloading apps or even reinstalling them once their storage space is low. The main reason behind this is the large file occupancy of the pre-built widgets. By compressing files and removing unused resources, you can optimize the size of the app to fit your audience’s requirements.
Facebook launched React Native in 2015 as a solution to the issues it faced with code maintenance for its app Facebook Ads. It gained a massive amount of fan following and major companies like Netflix and Airbnb were quick to adopt its architecture. Over the years, React Native has been used to develop some mindblowing apps including Instagram, and Walmart.
Apps developed on React Native perform well across mobile and web platforms and render native views in contrast to bland-looking web views. Consistent updates from Facebook for React Native is what makes a React Native app powerful, and integrated with the latest features.
The latest version includes the dynamic Fabric Renderer and Turbo Modules which optimizes module bridging for seamless native views and fast load speeds.
Launching a business mobile application in 2023 does demand one thing particularly and that’s interactive UI that compels users to use the apps with obsequious passion. Let’s not deny the fact that native apps look surreal as they have all the engineered power to formulate them.
Thanks to the ingenious architecture of React Native and its UI components, React Native applications render a ubiquitous native app feel with engaging user interfaces. Lovely animations and graphic transitions can be created with the React Native architecture to facilitate the development of world-class cross-platform mobile applications.
You can create complex animations using Reanimated, the advanced animation tool in React Native. Multitouch responses are seamlessly integrated with tools such as PanResponder. One of the highlights of all React Native components is its navigation tool, React-Navigation.
Tab bars and drawer menus can be easily implemented with a solid structure using these navigation components. Depending on the React Native project, UI customization can be done, extracting third-party libraries for additional functionality.
React Native apps are great as they are built on a single codebase with over 90% of the code being reusable. While writing codes for specific platforms, React Native developers just have to segment the platform-specific code from the general code and use it across multiple platforms.
It helps to scale applications quickly, enhancing the speed of app development and launching them well within the set deadline. Very little maintenance is required as most of the code is the same for all platforms. Developers who are being onboarded can easily understand the architecture of apps developed with React Native.
Hot reloading is great as it reloads your app by reflecting the timely changes you made to one or other of the React Native components instantly in your app’s performance. React Native developers can open two application screens at the same time to view the changes being made instantly.
If you are making overall modifications to your app and want to compile the app code by reloading from the start, the live reload feature allows you to facilitate that. Using React Native, you can create cross-platform apps and conduct the app development process smoothly to achieve phenomenal mobile development results.
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Creating mobile apps that perform close to native performance is possible when you integrate third-party plugins into your cross-platform applications. React Native is the best when it comes to this aspect out of the major frameworks used for building hybrid apps.
You can access several UI libraries that help you to integrate picture-perfect animations and custom buttons, and text fonts to offer a surreal user experience. React Native is great to build excellent navigation features including the toolbar, navbar, and others.
Never go into a shortage of options that you could use to make your business apps perform just like native applications. Explore cross-platform development libraries and third-party plugins to facilitate superior mobile development.
With the MapView library, you can create custom map styles, and layouts and design your navigation icons to provide users with the ultimate navigation experience. App testing libraries like Jest can be used to facilitate snapshot testing that optimizes testing initiatives.
React Native documentation and user interface are designed in such a way that developers can easily make sense of the app code every time they want to do an optimal glance-through. It’s also easy for new developers introduced to your project to quickly understand the code layout.
Building apps with React Native is so great as you can develop modules similar to native modules while maintaining an understanding of how each connects with the other. You can save money and time and operate smoothly as your React Native developer facilitates the development.
What’s best is that you can migrate your React Native code to a bigger framework such as Android Studio or Xcode and scale your applications further with explicit eCommerce, AI, and blockchain capabilities. App updates can be easily published while instantly being implemented in the user’s die.
Using React Native for building apps that work across multiple platforms is an excellent choice as it’s backed by Facebook and an entire community of developers that are rising on the run. Thousands of developers work with React Native to develop apps that facilitate superior mobile development.
Updates are released consistently to enhance the functionality of the hybrid app framework. Discussion portals are consistently getting feedback from developers who want to integrate certain features into the app’s framework.
Mega conferences are held every year where major companies and partners meet to discuss the future of the React Native ecosystem and how to optimize it for upbeat functionality.
Suppose you’re building a metaverse or blockchain application, you’ll want to exploit all the options available to develop an app with mind-blowing user interfaces with complex graphic transitions and UX models to get maximum customer engagement.
If you’re looking to build complex user interfaces for your mobile app development with powerful modules performing like native modules, you must opt for native app development. There’s a limitation when you want to develop a fully functional app with the latest UI trends.
While deploying these tools, React Native developers may stumble into learning hassles. As a business owner, you want changes to be implemented with an immediate effect but sometimes these debugging hassles may lead to delayed project completion.
Although React Native has an extensive community of developers who build applications with the framework, it’s still in the nascent stages and will take time to fully mature and achieve its real potential. It falls back in performance and security barriers as compared to native apps.
Certain React Native components and modules don’t perform nearly as well as native ones and additional codes have to be integrated to write those custom components codes. Owing to its open-source nature, there are issues associated with security and safety.
Here comes the interesting part where you get a detailed Flutter vs React Native comparison to choose between a React Native app or one developed in Flutter. As already discussed, both Flutter and React Native have their perks and downsides but let’s see how they fare against each other.
Being a business owner in 2023, you want to implement ready-to-scale changes in your mobile applications on the go. To facilitate this, developers have to be aware of all the key components in their respective frameworks to execute their vision.
React Native’s guides are poorly structured and very hard to understand for even experienced developers. In the Flutter vs React Native documentation battle, there’s no doubt that Flutter has an easier presentation that’s convenient to keep up with.
Both Flutter and React Native has great architecture that helps to develop powerful mobile and web applications, giving developers the essential tools and resources needed to implement your business vision.
Flutter has a widget-tree architecture where parent and child widgets are classified to easily operate through for developers. Given the fact that Flutter is embedded with all the major components, their developers can work seamlessly with the architecture and not bother about third-party plugins.
Google has reinvented the wheel in terms of architecture adaptability and flexibility as Flutter developers can easily work within the framework without wasting time understanding code branches via widget tree conceptualization. For native Android developers familiar with JavaScrpit’s powerful architecture, React Native can be the better choice.
If you’re expecting to build an application with native app performance metrics, hybrid app frameworks can’t help you get there in full measure. In retrospect, Flutter has an extensive set of pre-built components or widgets that you can use to develop a custom mobile application.
For almost every component or widget integration, you can access Flutter’s libraries which have these inherent plugins. In comparison, React Native has a limited set of widgets or pre-built components that help you design creative user interfaces.
With Flutter, you won’t have to worry about customization or depend on third-party libraries. The same is not the case with React Native as you will have to access various third-party libraries to build a custom app.
You can scale apps easily with Flutter owing to its extensive widget support but the same takes time and money to develop with React Native.
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It’s fair to say that Flutter is more popular than React Native, at least concerning the latest stat reports. A poll conducted by Statista in 2021, says that about 42% of developers use Flutter in contrast to 39% that use React Native to build hybrid apps.
In terms of community support, React Native has the edge as it has been there for a longer time with updates being released consistently, thus beating Flutter in that aspect. That being said, Flutter is also going through some massive growth with Google consistently releasing updates.
Our Verdict: In terms of the popularity of the Flutter vs React Native scenario, Flutter is leading currently. It’s still leading by a small margin. Both Flutter and React Native are having a growing community base with consistent updates and backing from their companies.
For calibrating errors and fixing bugs in cross-platform applications, effective testing needs to be done. It’s best to have in-built test modules and that’s why Flutter is the leader in this aspect. Flutter has testing modules that developers can use while checking for bugs and errors.
Widget testing can be done extensively to test certain modules and components without performing an overall check. Unit and integration testing in Flutter apps is also easily facilitated because of the easy and intuitive interface of the framework.
React Native doesn’t have pre-built testing functionality that is capable of identifying potential errors. However, a large number of custom software testing tools such as Jest, Appium, and much more can be used to identify errors embedded deeply within the app code.
While considering performance metrics, both Flutter and React Native do a good job of rendering apps built on their platform the native feel and vibe associated with iOS and Android apps. However, technically speaking, there are key differences in their performance ratio.
So if you’re looking to develop a powerful hybrid app with a scintillating performance, both Flutter and React Native are great options. Choose native app development for the ultimate performance but if you want a balance of budget and performance then you should consider hybrid apps.
Our Verdict: Flutter has the leading edge when it comes to performance owing to the architectural stability and ease of processing. React Native performs well with integrated third-party libraries and offers a great native app feel with custom UI components and functionality.
Right from the conception of both Flutter and React Native, hybrid app development frameworks, have been used by Global mega companies to develop powerful mobile and web apps. Let’s take a look at a few of the major apps developed using these frameworks.
Every online advertiser has used Google Ads for some or other of their digital marketing initiatives. The ad platform is a great example of a phenomenal app developed with Flutter. With its potentially striking user interface, campaign statistics, and bidding features, Google Ads is just an example of how much you can do with Flutter.
A meditation and mindfulness app is just the thing you need for rejuvenating yourself. The Reflectly app built using Flutter is a great example of how versatile a cross-platform app could look and perform.
With timely meditation reminders and a personalized journey calendar, the mindfulness app brings the best version out of everyone.
Think of a dating app, head directly to Pairing, the all-powerful Flutter app that helps you swipe and connect with like-minded people in an instant. The feature-rich app provides a credible user experience, enabling you to make requests in a sequential style.
Although Facebook has great elements of React Native in its build, we’ve handpicked this option to help you generate a comparison between Flutter’s Google Ads and React Native’s Facebook Ads. The highly graphic visual portrayal of graphs and stats in the online marketing app is great to use and achieve significant results.
If you’re thinking about building a social media app, you have all the evidence you need to understand that React Native has been preferred to other hybrid app frameworks. Millennials and adults unlike are attached to Instagram’s picture-oriented social platform as it’s highly user intuitive.
A food and beverage app hits sales unlike any other and UberEats is a great example of a React Native-built on-demand app that became an instant hit with food-savvy consumers. The user experience across iOS and Android platforms is phenomenal thanks to React Native’s performance metrics.
It’s time for the final verdict. Who wins in the Flutter vs React Native battle? As we’ve seen both Flutter and React Native are excellent frameworks for developing world-class hybrid apps. Flutter wins when it comes to developing apps with the upfront use of the framework’s widgets itself in comparison to React Native where developers have to integrate third-party libraries.
However, developing enterprise applications with futuristic app development trends is effective with React Native as the app code can be easily migrated to native platforms like Android Studio when it becomes a necessity. So the answer to which cross-platform app development framework is better depends on what you want to derive and how you’re willing to allocate your resources.
Using both React Native and Flutter is a win-win situation. It ultimately scales down to the skill and experience of the developers who are going to use the frameworks to build powerful applications.
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